When President Obama and Governor Romney squared off in the second presidential debate, many questions surrounded both men. For one, why was Obama off of his game during the first debate? Could Romney stand up to Obama if he did come back in full form?
The issues both presidential hopefuls discussed ranged from the perennial issue of the economy to the recent “terrorist” attacks in Benghazi to “binders full of women.” Yes indeed, binders full of women. Romney uttered this awkward phrase when he was asked a question about inequalities in the workplace relating to women’s pay.
This statement was rather funny, and the twitter community jumped all over it.
John Fugelsang tweeted, “I respect that Gov Romney had binders full of women; most men just keep all that stuff on an external hard drive.” My personal favourite, which a few people posted was, “First you get the money. Then you get the power. Then you get the #bindersfullofwomen.”
And, finally, a commenter with the Twitter handle “Keder” said, “I was going to vote for Romney, but the ‘binders full of women’ thing changed my mind and now I’m voting for Obama.’ – nobody.”
This last tweet brings up the best point: what effect would this actually have on undecided voters in the battleground states? Probably none, and obviously party hacks will either ignore it, in the case of Republicans, or capitalize on it and make fun of it, like the Democrats have.
The statement in and of itself is not a big deal – hardly anyone will label it misogynist, and most will write it off and forget about it. Throughout this campaign, Romney has often had little gaffes like this, and these add up to the perception that voters have of him. For example, on his international tour, he met with Solidarity labour leaders in Poland – rather ironic considering he opposes unions – and in Israel, where he said that Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, should be the capital.
The comment that actually outraged people was when he said, “as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” comparing Israel and Palestine and suggesting Palestinian culture was what kept their state in constant instability, not the ongoing Israeli occupation.
These perceptions of Romney slowly built up in the minds of undecided voters, and they culminated in his famous comment about the 47 per cent.
Still, the race is too close to call because a lot of people blame Obama for the economic situation of the last few years.
Nevertheless, Romney has to be careful of what he says, for a stupid comment could mean a significant edge for Obama. A similar situation like this may have led to Gerald Ford’s loss in the 1976 Presidential debate, when he said “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford Administration.”
Is Romney as out of touch as Ford was? Perhaps. With only a few weeks to go until the election, only time will tell.
Then again, George W. Bush was elected – twice – in the United States, and he said some rather dumb shit.